Sun, 02 Oct 2022

Djokovic wife slams magazine as vaccine row swirls

RT.com
09 Aug 2022, 20:26 GMT+10

Jelena Djokovic was highly critical of a publication's editorial about her unvaccinated husband

Jelena Djokovic, the wife of 21-time Grand Slam winner Novak, has hit out at Racquet Magazine for penning an editorial piece critical of her husband's vaccine stance as the Serbian star looks increasingly likely to miss out on this month's US Open. 

Djokovic appears almost certain to be absent for what would be a second Grand Slam event of the year, this time due to US rules forbidding unvaccinated non-citizens from entering the country.

In January, Djokovic was deported from Australia in a row over vaccine rules, in an incident which sparked a mini international incident between Australia and Serbia.

READ MORE: Djokovic out of North American showpiece

But despite the doubts over his eligibility to take part at the tournament in Flushing Meadows this month, Racquet Magazine has accused Djokovic of seeking preferential treatment after he was added to the US Open draw (as well as several other warm-up events) in spite of his vaccine stance.

"Dunno why this guy keeps entering tournaments hoping they'll change their rules for him," the magazine wrote. 

"Like the whole thing with taking a stand is that you have to actually take the stand."

"Is this a real, international tennis magazine?! Wow," Jelena Djokovic responded, in what proved to be the opening salvo in a prolonged Twitter exchange.

Racquet returned her serve with interest: "Hi Jelena! We'd love to see your husband play in New York, along with the rest of the tennis world. Hopefully he'll decide he can follow the rules.

"Hi! Based on tennis rules and ranking - Novak's entry in the tournament was automatic. So, what was the logic behind your tweet?" she responded.

"Not trying to disrupt your Friday night, but since you came our way, it'd be great to get him to take his stand by withdrawing from those events now so the whole tennis world isn't talking about him not getting a shot for weeks to come. A stand is only a stand if one takes it," the magazine added.

"His most important stand is to be a tennis champion. And he took it. I mean, a stand is a stand," she volleyed back.

"Given that you are a tennis magazine- maybe focus on that in the weeks to come? Take a stand. Be what you are meant to be. A tennis magazine that writes about tennis."

Jelena Djokovic is a frequent defender of her husband online.

After this summer's Wimbledon final in which Novak defeated Nick Kyrgios in the final, she engaged in another Twitter spat with reporter Ben Rothenberg - the editor of Racquet Magazine and who is a prominent critic of Novak Djokovic - after he accused the Serb of establishing himself as an 'anti-vax poster boy'. 

"Thank you for sharing your beliefs," Jelena wrote at the time. "I hope you don't get judged for them. Or become a poster boy for hatred and bullying. You never know. You are also influential figure, please don't continuously disappoint. Unless that's your role."

But amid the furor, one constant remains: Djokovic has not, and likely will not, be vaccinated - even if this stance proves to be a continuing obstacle to his race with rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to take pole position in the all-time Grand Slam stakes.

"I'm not vaccinated and I'm not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption," Djokovic said of his position on the matter.

"I don't know. I don't think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don't know what exemption would be about. I don't know. I don't have much answers there.

"I think it's just whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to the USA."

READ MORE: Serbs turn to Biden over Djokovic entry ban

More Hobart News

Access More

Sign up for Hobart News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!